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Hurricane Irene’s Toll on NJ’s Historic Places

August 29, 2011

Preservation NJ is trying to collect information regarding Hurricane Irene’s impact on the state’s historic places. As everyone is well aware, the storm has left thousands of NJ communities without power, making communication difficult. The information

Floodwaters are innundating New Jersey in the wake of Hurricane Irene. Image courtesy of CNN.com

here was gathered from online news reports and Facebook and email accounts sent to PNJ.

So far, we’ve received reports that:

– High Bridge, Hunterdon County, has been evacuated due to fears about the integrity of Lake Solitude Dam, one of 2008’s 10 Most Endangered Historic Places in New Jersey.
– Facebook posts report serious flooding in historic areas of Lumberton & Vincentown in Burlington County. We understand that the Vincentown Episcopal Church, Telephone Museum and several houses in the historic district were flooded.
– A dam breach in Harrison Township has resulted in flooding and possible damage to the historic Mullica Hill area
– Flooding in Trenton has impacted historic neighborhoods including Ferry Street and the Island.
– Parts of Hoboken are flooded with Hudson River water and sewage.
– Dozens of historic bridges have been flooded and seriously damaged in Hunterdon County.
– According to emergency management officials, all 25 townships in Middlesex County have experienced some degree of flooding.
– Good new in Spring Lake: the circa 1930s beach pavilion weather the storm intact.
– Significant flooding in Morris County, including Morristown, Denville, Dover, and Bernardsville.
– Cape May has experienced much less damage then expected, although downed trees have damaged several properties.
– Cumberland County fared the storms better than expected, but continues to recover from damage caused by storms that washed out roads and dams two weeks ago.
– The Rahway River breached its dikes, flooding Cranford.
– Tornadoes resulted in significant damage in Long Branch
– Main Street in Hightstown, Mercer County, is completely submerged.
Much of downtown Mount Holly has been and is submerged.

And this is, of course, not the half of it. Help us get a handle on Irene’s impacts on historic New Jersey: keep PNJ posted by posting your accounts of how the storm and aftermath are treating historic resources in your area here on our blog, or on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Our heartfelt best wishes to everyone impacted by the storm.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 29, 2011 10:17 pm

    Birdgeton’s HIstoric City Park, the original waterpower resource of the early Cumberland Nail & Iron Works, had already been inundated by the flooding of the previous week, with parts of its historic industrial raceway infrastructure severely damaged and a FEMA consultation begun, when Irene flooded the same Cohansey RIver headwaters, sending even more pressure downriver and through the city. Thankfully, the Cohansey did not crest above city embankments, and although there has been some water and wind damage to individual structures throughout the area, the state’s largest historic district appears largely to have come through.

    Ironically, a major casualty of the storm was Saturday’s planned Cohansey RiverFest, an annual festival of the river and its regional ecosystem, in only its second year. Kayaking– boatrides–bike tour–bus tours–all had to be scratched in deference to the dark side of weather in a water-dependent ecosystem.

    Today, other parts of Cumberland County experienced severe post-storm flooding, with Union Lake Dam threatening downtown Millville and now other towns along the Maurice RIver, as water is deliberately released and sent boiling downstream.

    Updates on specific historic structures will be available soon.

  2. August 30, 2011 11:35 am

    Thank you, Flavia, for the Bridgeton and Cumberland County updates.

  3. August 30, 2011 11:43 am

    Also today, we understand that portions of Little Falls and Montville are submerged.

    Manville is also suffering extreme and widespread flooding.

  4. September 6, 2011 12:33 pm

    The National Trust’s Northeast Field Office has announced the availability of emergency intervention funding for historic properties damaged by Hurricane Irene. Contact the NE Field Office for info.: http://www.preservationnation.org/about-us/regional-offices/northeast/

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